The original “Toy Story” was released in 1995. It was the first computer–animated film to ever appear in theaters and went on to become a groundbreaking success in an enormous way. It launched the future for the now–famous Pixar Animation Studios, and inspired future companies that would enter the film industry with their own styles of animation and storytelling; such as DreamWorks. The film went on to spawn three sequels, and today I’m looking at its fourth and last addition to the series: “Toy Story 4.”
After the events of the third film, Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang are now owned by a new kid named Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). After her first day at kindergarten orientation, Bonnie returns home with a new toy she created—from a plastic spork—who she dubs Forky (Tony Hale). Like Woody and the other toys, Forky comes to life, but unlike them, he refuses to embrace his existence as a toy, seeing himself only as an object to be thrown into the trash—a sentiment he carries as he constantly tries to. When Bonnie and her family head on a road trip, Forky escapes with Woody chasing after him. Now lost in the big open world, Woody will have to find his way back to his friends, however, he might just end up finding some old ones along his new adventure. The film features an all-star cast: Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Joan Cusack, Kristen Schaal and more.
This is a fine film with a well-rounded and strong cast, along with top-notch animation. If I could play devil’s advocate and make a personal note, I do feel like this was an unnecessary sequel. “Toy Story 3” began and ended on such a high note, that trying to add ANOTHER ending just feels excessive. It’d be like if someone made a sequel to “Casablanca.” Even if this make-believe sequel is decent and well made, it can never top the strength of the original story nor the power of its ending.
However, if I look at “Toy Story 4” on its own, it’s a great film to kill two hours. Plus, there is one thing I found interesting about the story. In a series that has mostly been about toys children play with, it was interesting that they introduce a character like ‘Forky’ who seems to exist mostly as a comfort toy. Anyone who works with kids is probably aware that there are some children out there who have trouble fitting in and dealing with the anxiety of it. So, they seek comfort in something to help them get through said anxiety like a plushy, stress ball, or a toy. While this idea is not the overall focus of the movie, it is an interesting concept that I noticed and helped me understand why such a minuscule item like Forky was important to the plot and the child that made him.
“Toy Story 4” is rated G for some mild frightening and intense scenes. If you’re looking for a fun animated adventure you can enjoy with your children/grandchildren during these hard times, you’ll have fun with this film. Which is why the final score for “Toy Story 4” is a 7.5 out of 10.
Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.